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Microsoft 365 Copilot Early Access Program announced for 600 business customers

Microsoft 365 copilot

In March, Microsoft 365 Copilot was first announced. This was the company's reveal of its generative AI features in its Office productivity apps like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and more. At the time, Microsoft launched a testing program with 20 of its enterprise customers.

During this period, the company has received feedback from these customers about Copilot's use by their employees. Microsoft stated:

Their overwhelming feedback is that Copilot has the potential to revolutionize work. They point to how it is a game changer for meetings and is beginning to transform the way they create. And, they’ve identified areas where we can do more to help people adapt to this new way of working, like the need for more conversational, multi-turn interactions.

Today, Microsoft has announced a new program that will expand the testing of this feature to many more users. It's called the Microsoft 365 Copilot Early Access Program, and it will initially be available as a paid preview to 600 more customers. There's no word on how much Microsoft is charging for this paid preview. However, the program will almost certainly generate a lot more information on how customers will use its generative AI features.

copilot in whiteboard

Since the March announcement of Microsoft 365 Copilot, the company has revealed even more productivity app support for AI features using the Copilot branding. That includes support for OneNote, Viva, and SharePoint. Today, Microsoft announced even more apps will be adding Copilot AI features:

  • Copilot in Whiteboard will make Microsoft Teams meetings and brainstorms more creative and effective. Using natural language, you can ask Copilot to generate ideas, organize ideas into themes, create designs that bring ideas to life and summarize whiteboard content.
  • By integrating DALL-E, OpenAI’s image generator, into PowerPoint, users will be able to ask Copilot to create custom images to support their content.
  • Copilot in Outlook will offer coaching tips and suggestions on clarity, sentiment and tone to help users write more effective emails and communicate more confidently.
  • Copilot in OneNote will use prompts to draft plans, generate ideas, create lists and organize information to help customers find what they need easily.
  • Copilot in Loop helps your team stay in sync by quickly summarizing all the content on your Loop page to keep everyone aligned and able to collaborate effectively.
  • Copilot in Viva Learning will use a natural language chat interface to help users create a personalized learning journey including designing upskilling paths, discovering relevant learning resources and scheduling time for assigned trainings.

copilot in outlook

In addition, all Microsoft 365 E3 and E5 customers will get access to Semantic Index for Copilot. Microsoft says this feature will create a map of a company's user and company data they can search through, even if they don't use Microsoft 365 Copilot. It stated:

For example, when you ask it about the “March Sales Report,” it doesn’t simply look for documents with those words in the file name or body. Instead, it understands that “sales reports are produced by Kelly on the finance team and created in Excel.” And it uses that conceptual understanding to determine your intent and help you find what you need.

The clear intent is that Microsoft wants more feedback about its Copilot features, but it also doesn't want to unleash it in an open public preview yet. This slow rollout with an Early Access program is a good compromise so it can learn how it is being used by businesses to help its employees, rather than a tool to replace workers.

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